Let’s face it, when you travel your workouts often suffer. Travel screws with your daily routine, impacting things like your schedule, access to your favorite running routes or the gym equipment that you have at home. Having just come back from a quick trip to Asia, I have five more tips fresh in my mind that will help keep your workouts on track and make the whole experience better for you.
Tip 1 — Develop a backup exercise routine that you can do literally anywhere — Whether you find yourself in an airport, on an island with no gym or just holed up in a hotel room, sometimes you will have no access to any equipment, the outdoors or a safe place to get out for a run. In these cases, I always have a set of exercises that I can do without any equipment to get myself active anywhere. Here’s an example of full-body workout that you can do anywhere. Do three-to-four sets of the following exercises doing as many as you think is wise for your fitness. You may want to start at 10 each:
– Burpees — this is a combination exercise that includes a squat, push-up, thrust and jump. Certain to raise your heart-rate immediately.
You’ll be surprised how much of a workout you can get doing simple exercises like this, especially when varying the number and the pacing. You can also add weight by grabbing something in your possession when doing some of these; I have used my back-pack for instance when doing squats or side-lunges. Heck put your laptop or a heavy book on your chest to add weight to your sit-ups.
Some other good exercises that you could do here include box jumps (to a bench or even onto a hotel bed if you’re careful about not falling over backward) and pull-ups if you can find a bar of some kind. (NOTE from Joe: shower-curtain rods do not generally support body weight.)
Tip 2 — Be flexible and creative with your workouts — Perhaps the most important tip is not to get hung-up on getting in some specific workout when traveling. I recall being on a small island in Thailand once where the longest road was 1/4 mile in length and featured. . .tigers. I was supposed to do a long run that weekend, but it just wasn’t going to happen. I ended up swimming in the ocean instead. But this sticks out as me as one of those learning moments when I just needed to stay flexible, creative and understanding of my situation while I was traveling.
Tip 3 — Stay hydrated and keep on top of your nutrition — The foundation to being able to work out on the road at all is to make sure that you pay proper attention to your hydration and nutrition. Airplane travel can leave you very dehydrated to start with, so drink plenty of fluid when flying. Eat healthy foods, trying to stay close to your normal diet if possible. Keep in mind that working on your hydration and nutrition will also help in combating jet lag. Thankfully, exercise will also help reduce jet lag.
Tip 4 — Wash your clothes — File this one under making the experience better for yourself. Workout clothes get mighty stinky when left to dry on the shower-rod after a workout, especially if you are in a humid or tropical environment where they may not dry at all. It hadn’t occurred to me until recently that carrying a small bottle of laundry detergent and doing a quick rinse and wash of my shorts and shirt after a workout really, really, help with the stink. There are also some stink-free fabrics now designed for this very problem, but I’ve found a quick rinse even without detergent goes a long way toward this problem.
Tip 5 — Get in something, even if it’s just a little — Sometimes while traveling you may be so tired that the quality of your workout is going to be comprised no matter what you do. I recall last year having a whole day to myself in Brazil when I planned to get in a good workout, but I was soooo tired that I literally could only walk on the treadmill. In these cases I still like to go through the motions and get in a quick workout. I may only do 15-20 minutes of light exercise, but this helps with the fatigue and helps combat jet lag. It seems that just a little something is better than nothing when on the road.
Happy travels athletes.
Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon, USA
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